HAZARD — In an interview with WYMT Television released on Sept. 8, Perry County Judge Exec. Scott Alexander said that a proposal to make alcohol sales legal on Sundays in Perry County, which has been quietly considered as one possible move to generate revenue during the current budget crunch, will not be voted on by the Fiscal Court, or at least, not at this moment in time. The possible measure to legalize Sunday alcohol sales compelled a multitude of community members to voice strong opposition.
Much of the opposition to the measure came from local churches. However, concern also existed about the possibility of the proposed ordinance including an alcohol tax, which might make competition steeper for Perry County businesses that are no longer surrounded by dry districts, with places like Breathitt County and Whitesburg now allowing alcohol sales. Alexander claims that Sunday sales would help attract customers.
In July, The City of Vicco voted on a similar ordinance. The first reading of the proposal was approved by Vicco’s City Commission. The second reading, however, which would have officially legalized Sunday alcohol sales in Vicco, failed to pass because members of the community gathered to protest at the City Commission meeting, prompting the commissioners to strike the ordinance. Alexander sites public disapproval as the reason the Fiscal Court has decided to not pursue such an ordinance countywide.
Yet Alexander has not gone as far as to say this decision is final. In the interview with WYMT, Alexander suggests that the idea of legalizing Sunday alcohol sales in Perry County could be revisited in the future. At this time, it is unclear when such an act would occur or if an alcohol tax would be involved.
Tax raises have been mentioned by Alexander as an avenue the Fiscal Court might consider. The WYMT report states that Alexander expressed a one percent payroll tax as a possible item of discussion in future Fiscal Court meetings. This would mean, if passed, that everyone on a payroll in Perry County would have one percent of their paychecks cut for the county payroll tax, in addition to other taxes currently in place, including taxes for workers within city limits. As of now, the county payroll tax has only been mentioned as a possibility. No ordinance on the issue has been placed before the Fiscal Court.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.